In a major policy shift, adviser to prime minister on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz Wednesday informed Senate that the concept of Afghanistan as a strategic depth has become ‘totally outdated’ and needs no more importance. Winding up a debate on US drone attacks, foreign policy and other issues in Senate, Aziz clearly stated that strategic depth means nothing both for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
About a resolution against execution of Jamaat-i-Islami Bangladesh leader Abdul Quader Molla, and ‘lukewarm’ response of the Foreign Office of Pakistan, the adviser said that parliament is sovereign and can pass a resolution. The role of Pakistan in the Doha talks, he added, was just that of a facilitator, adding it seems it will progress any further after the Taliban put forward some conditions which were not acceptable.
He said that a peaceful neighbourhood is the top priority of the incumbent government, for which prime minister had visited both India and Afghanistan. Aziz said that Pakistan is following the policy of non-interference in Afghanistan. He further said that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan and its policy of non-interference in Afghanistan affairs has helped improve bilateral relations. The adviser said that Pakistan is in favour of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
He said 2014 presents both challenges and opportunities for Afghanistan and three kinds of transition – political, economic and security-related. The issue of the Bilateral Security Agreement and residual presence of the ISAF forces after 2014, he added, was still in the process of being sorted out.
He said the government working on strengthening and broadening economic and strategic relations with Afghanistan, keeping in view the post-2014 situation when US forces will leave Afghanistan. In the context of Pakistan-India relations, he said that relations between the two countries have improved to a great extent. Besides CBMs, a backdoor diplomacy channel is working to bring both the neighbours closer, he added.
About US drone attacks, he said the UNGA is going to pass a resolution on Wednesday against drone attacks inside Pakistan. About the stalled talks with Taliban fugitives, he said that the government is pursuing the option of dialogue as “priority number one” and if it failed there are other options which will be exercised as the last resort. He further said that for the first time, both civilian and military leadership have tried to formulate a consensus policy by taking all the stakeholders onboard.
Earlier, Senator Zahid Khan of ANP lambasted Imran Khan for blocking Nato supply line, saying he is running Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by sitting in Punjab like Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. He said that after Imran failed to cope with the situation in KP, he is now trying to go back Punjab and this is the reason he had announced to hold a protest in Lahore.
Author: Zulfiqar Ahmad
Source: Business Recorder